Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Building People of Substance for Works of Power
Let’s stay on the lane, Friend!
“Lord, keep me straight. Don’t let me get off!” I prayed that simple prayer again this week as I have many times over the years. Whenever I hear another story about a preacher who gets off the path and falls into some kind of mess, I pray for him and all those who have been damaged by his dereliction. Then I pray for myself. People get in all kinds of messes. One guy got arrested because of a drug habit hidden for years under a veneer of ministerial perfection. Another fellow turned away from the message of faith and headed off into Old Testament legalism. Catastrophic, life-controlling sin brings reproach to the Kingdom and to the Message we all love. Doctrinal goofiness leads precious people down paths of fruitlessness and bondage. One is no better, or worse, than the other. I don’t ever want to be in the position of explaining to the Lord why I got so far off the track that I damaged the ones He entrusted to me. “Lord, keep me straight. Don’t let me get off!”
Life is a lot like Kiddie Bowling. You are more likely to stay on the lane and hit some pins if you put bumpers in the gutters – something to bounce you back toward the middle of the road when you get off. Some good gutter bumpers for preachers are:
Somebody Said: All men are liable to error; and most men are, in many points, by passion or interest, under temptation to it. John Locke
Scripture Reading: Refuse good advice and watch your plans fail; take good counsel and watch them succeed. (Proverbs 15:22 MSG)
I’m fairly certain none of us sets out to drive our life and ministry into the ditch. The problem is we allow our priorities to become skewed, sacrificing the important on the altar of expediency and pride. We all do it from time to time. The better our system of gutter bumpers, the quicker we get knocked back into the middle of the lane. One more time: “Lord, keep me straight. Don’t let me get off!”